Chapter Profiles: East Bronx Chapter and Northeast Los Angeles Chapter
Keys to incredible chapter kickoff meetings.
CHAPTER: East Bronx
NEIGHBORHOOD: the Bronx, New York City
DATE: Jan. 15
THEME: “Youth: The Sunlight of Our Community”
WHO CAME: 106, including 33 youth and youth guests
HIGHLIGHTS: A moving experience by the Ortiz-Torres family, which has four generations practicing SGI Nichiren Buddhism together. A performance by newly appointed district men’s leader and world-renowned pianist Luis Perdomo with his wife, Mimi Jones. (His sister-in-law received the Gohonzon at the meeting.) A powerful conclusion with more than 30 youth singing “Rise Up, America!” expressing their high hopes for the future of the Bronx. Said East Territory Leader Tariq Hasan at its conclusion, “For many years I’ve been waiting for a youthful explosion in the Bronx like we saw today!”
CHAPTER GOAL: Bring 100 youth to the 50,000 youth gathering in 2018.
KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL KICKOFF:
1. Chapter members gathered weekly to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for total victory. Planning was tied to the January 2017 Living Buddhism article “The Chapter Is the Key to Victory.” A newsletter was sent out daily to members with an excerpt from this article.
2. Led by the women’s division, a campaign to home visit each member spread throughout the chapter.
3. Women’s district and chapter leaders met multiple times to prepare for the meeting, from creating programs to preparing snacks, in an e ort to treasure each member in attendance.
4. A flier for the event distributed to members and guests listed the spirit of the chapter as “connecting the roots of our community to its glorious future,” and “let’s keep doing shakubuku.”
5. The fun, familylike atmosphere, nurtured by the women of the chapter, encouraged many members to bring their young friends. “The women in this chapter are all about raising the youth,” said Bronx Region Men’s Leader Jeremy Joffee. “They are great mothers.”
CHAPTER: Northeast Los Angeles
NEIGHBORHOOD: Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Glassell Park, Mount Washington
DATE: JAN. 16
THEME: “Northeast LA Is the Vanguard: 50K United With Sensei”
WHO CAME: 113, including 32 youth and 22 guests
HIGHLIGHTS: Powerful experiences by newly appointed chapter young men’s leader Gabriel Vidal and district vice women’s leader Maria Teruya. Two youth received the Gohonzon at the meeting, while another young man decided to join the SGI the same week, after seven years of encouragement. Another new member, also inspired by the meeting, helped two friends receive the Gohonzon a few days later. All those who sponsored new members and who received the Gohonzon were youth!
CHAPTER GOAL: Bring 150 youth to the 50,000 youth gathering in 2018, and toward that day, welcome 200 Bodhisattvas of the Earth to the SGI and have 200 youth subscribe to the SGI-USA publications.
KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL KICKOFF:
1. The chapter set clear attendance goals for both members and guests based on membership statistics and average attendance at discussion meetings.
2. Chapter members united in prayer to achieve attendance goals and for the overall success of the meeting. Chapter leaders also tied the victory of the meeting to their personal determinations.
3. Every single member of the chapter was called and encouraged to attend and bring guests. Youth who were no longer attending activities were encouraged through home visits. Some even participated in the meeting.
4. Using the power of the arts, chapter vice young women’s leader Dominique Fuster organized a music and dance performance that included members from all five districts, raising the excitement and participation among all four divisions.